How to Select a Truck Driving School near Woodland Washington
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a trucking school near Woodland WA. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open highway while driving a monster tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some research and have discovered that an occupation as a truck driver provides good wages and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s essential to get the proper training by picking the right CDL school in your area. When reviewing your options, there are a number of variables that you’ll want to consider prior to making your final selection. Location will undoubtedly be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Woodland residence. The cost will also be important, but selecting a school based entirely on price is not the optimal means to make sure you’ll receive the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that objective in mind, just how do you select a truck driving school? The answer to that question is what we are going to address in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles lawfully in Washington and within the United States, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The 3 license classes that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to pick a truck driver school near Woodland WA, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Below are short explanations of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that drivers may be qualified to operate with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs may also need endorsements to operate certain kinds of vehicles, for instance passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can operate any vehicle that a Class B licensee is authorized to operate.
How to Evaluate a Trucking School
When you have determined which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can begin the process of evaluating the Woodland WA trucking schools that you are considering. As earlier discussed, cost and location will undoubtedly be your primary concerns. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are some more things that you should research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driver training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Not many Woodland WA truck driving schools are accredited due to the demanding process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more commonplace and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are certain advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest caliber, and that they will get lots of driving time. For example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not simulations or ride-alongs. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will comply with the very high standards set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help determine the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school usually will not be in business very long, so longevity is a plus. On the other hand, even the top Woodland WA schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of several qualifications. You can also find out what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and job placement of its graduates. If a school won’t supply those numbers, look elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking firms. Having numerous contacts not only affirms a superior reputation within the industry, but also bolsters their job placement program for graduates. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Washington licensing department to confirm that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in good standing.
How Good is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Washington and hire instructors that are experienced and trained. We will talk more about the instructors in the following segment. Also, the student to instructor proportion should be no higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be obtaining the personalized instruction they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that insists it can train you to be a truck driver in a relatively short time period. Training to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. Most Woodland WA schools offer training courses that run from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As previously stated, it’s essential that the teachers are qualified to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Although a number of states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more successful driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep current with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Assessing instructors may be a bit more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the Woodland WA school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a good truck driver school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are essential training tools, they are no substitute for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time can vary between schools, a good standard is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Get in touch with the Woodland WA schools you are considering and find out how much driving time they furnish.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get free or discounted training from some Woodland WA trucking schools if you make a commitment to drive for a specified carrier for a defined period of time. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only refer to one company. The benefit is receiving less expensive or even free training by giving up the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to reduce your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Offer CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its graduates. If onsite testing is allowed in Washington, ask if the Woodland WA schools you are considering are DMV certified to provide it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates of competing schools for test times at Washington testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As formerly mentioned, CDL training is only about one to two months long. With such a brief duration, it’s important that the Woodland WA school you select offers flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the teacher should be prepared to devote more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still holding a job while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to accommodate working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Placement Provided? Once you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be anxious to start your new profession in Woodland WA. Verify that the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are placed with for employment. If a school has a low job placement rate or few employers recruiting their grads, it may be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are evaluating have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that need to be submitted in Woodland WA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Truck Driver?When getting ready to interview for a Trucking position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask truck driving candidates is "What compelled you to select trucking as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a trucker, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to trucking, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding truck driver and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Best Truck Driving School Woodland WA
Picking the ideal trucking school is an important first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options offered and understanding them is crucial if you are going to succeed as an operator. But first and foremost, you must obtain the proper training in order to operate a big commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on money or financing, you may need to think about a captive school. You will pay a lower or even no tuition by agreeing to drive for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking company of your choosing, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps America move as a professional trucker in Woodland WA.
A Bit About Woodland Washington
Woodland is a city in Clark and Cowlitz counties in the State of Washington. Most residents live within Cowlitz County, in which the majority of the city lies. It is part of the 'Longview, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 5,509 at the 2010 census.
Named for its wooded setting by Christopher Columbus Bozarth, first merchant and postmaster, at the suggestion of his wife. Identically or similarly named unincorporated communities (without post offices) with the same name source exist in Pierce County, Snohomish County, Island County, and Grays Harbor County.
Hudson's Bay Company retiree, Adolphous Le Lewes (alternate spelling Lewis), established a homestead at the mouth of what is today known as the Lewis River, in 1849 (The Lewis River is the namesake of A. Le Lewes, not Merriweather Lewis as some believe). Two Iowa families, related by marriage, came next: the Solomon Strongs filed a claim in September 1850 and the Squire Bozarths filed a claim in December of the same year. Bozarth built the first frame house, in what is today Woodland, and named it "Woodland Farm House." Other early settlers include: Columbia Lancaster, Milly Bozarth (Wife of Squire), McKenzie and Jane Caples, Brandt and Hans Kraft. After a few years, Christopher Columbus Bozarth (Better known as C.C. and the namesake for C.C. street in Woodland), a son of Squire Bozarth, opened a store and named it "Woodland," after his father's farm. Woodland eventually grew on the spot where the store was located.
It should be noted, Woodland was not the first trading center on the Lewis River bottoms. Pekin (now known as part of the Woodland Bottoms) deserves that credit. The Pekin store and Post Office was established in 1867 or 1868 by James Woods and F.H. Marsh. Pekin continued as the trading center until the Woodland store and Post Office were established. Woodland was more centrally located and on higher ground. Rarely did the June floods cover the streets of Woodland, but Pekin, built on stilts, was flooded nearly every June.
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